Last week review (Aug. 28-Sept. 1)

August 28

UnionPay International cards to be fully operable in Azerbaijan

Holders of plastic cards from UnionPay International will be able to carry out any banking operations in Azerbaijan through ATMs and POS terminals of AtaBank.

A relevant partnership agreement has been signed by Chairman of the Management Board of AtaBank Dayanat Guliyev and Chief Development Officer of UnionPay International Wang Lixin.

UnionPay International is a subsidiary of the Chinese financial services corporation China UnionPay.

Addressing the signing ceremony, Guliyev said the agreement will give a special impetus to development of banking sector in Azerbaijan.

“Total number of UnionPay International cards reaches five billion, including 70 million cards issued outside of China,” he said.

Guliyev pointed out that the Azerbaijani government attaches great importance to developing relations with China.

August 29

European company to help developing general plans for Azerbaijani tourism zones

PGI Management company will prepare general plans for tourism and recreation areas of Gusar and Guba districts of Azerbaijan, says a message posted on the website of Azerbaijan's tender commission.

The company signed relevant contracts with Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism last week. Total cost of the contracts amounts to 677,900 manats (398,894.28 manats for Gusar tourism and recreation zone, and 279,000.38 manats for Guba tourism and recreation zone).

PGI Management is a big European company that provides services in managing business processes at ski resorts. The company’s services cover work from development of a business concept to the implementation of a project, as well as technical support and business development, taking into account local cultural characteristics.

PGI Management has previously worked in Azerbaijan, providing consulting services as part of the construction of Shahdag Mountain Resort. Currently, the company is engaged in management of production processes at this resort.

August 30

Foreigners to get e-visa to Azerbaijan within 3 hours

Starting from today, foreigners and stateless persons can get an electronic visa to Azerbaijan within three hours using ASAN Visa system, Azerbaijani State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovations said in a message.

Visa can also be requested on weekends and public holidays, according to the message.

ASAN Visa system allows getting a visa to Azerbaijan in three easy steps – applying, paying a fee and downloading the e-visa. Electronic visas can be obtained by only nationals of 94 countries (or residents of these countries). The list of countries is approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan. E-visas are valid for 30 days.

For more information please refer to Azerbaijan's Electronic Visa Portal.

Azerbaijan in top-5 travel destinations for Russian businessmen

Aero Club, Russia’s travel management company, named the most popular destinations among Russian business travelers.

Azerbaijan has been included in the list of five countries, which Russian business travelers often visit, the Azerbaijani Ministry of Culture and Tourism told Trend.

The other countries include Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Belarus.

Aero Club is among three biggest agencies on the Russian business travel market. The company is the leader in rendering MICE-services in Russia.

Serbia studying Azerbaijan Customs Committee’s experience

Serbia is exploring innovations used by Azerbaijan in the customs sphere, particularly the GPS (Global Positioning System) tracking system, said Gordana Vidanovic, head of the department of International Customs’ Cooperation and EU Integration at the Customs Administration of Serbian Ministry of Finance.

She made the remarks in Baku, at the meeting with the head of Azerbaijan’s State Customs Committee Aydin Aliyev.

During the meeting, Aliyev noted that, although the political ties between the two countries are presently at a very high level, there is a need for the development of trade relations, reads a Customs Committee message.

Both countries support each other within the international organizations, he said, adding that Azerbaijan supports the territorial integrity of Serbia, which is a vivid example of the level the political relations are at.

Aliyev reminded that in April, at the Conference of the Heads of Customs Services of the European Region, organized by the World Customs Organization (WCO), Azerbaijan reiterated its position not to recognize Kosovo's independence.

In turn, Vidanovic expressed hope that, Azerbaijan would support Serbia in the Kosovo issue at the next WCO meeting.

August 31

Azerbaijan wants to export hazelnut to more countries

Azerbaijan intends to export hazelnut to many countries, Ismayil Orujov, chairman of the Azerbaijan Hazelnut Producers and Exporters Association, told Trend.

He said that at present Azerbaijan exports hazelnut to 25 countries, but the association aims to increase the figure.

“We widely make use of events to promote the Made in Azerbaijan brand in the world,” Orujov said. “We will take part in WorldFood Moscow exhibition and Anuga 2017 exhibition in Cologne to expand hazelnut export.”

“One of our main goals is to steadily improve the quality of products, preserve product competitiveness, and expand exports,” he said. “At present, we export products to 25 countries. The main importers are Russia, Italy and Germany. Eighty percent of all exported products account for those countries. The Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Tunisia are also among importers.”

Orujov added that one of their main goals is to increase exports.

“We intend to surpass last year's figure of $105 million,” he said. “The export value amounted to $32 million in January-June 2017. Despite the hazelnut prices slightly decreased [from $7 to $5 per kilogram], in 2017 harvest is expected to be more than in 2016. Thus, 40,000 tons of hazelnuts were received in 2016, while we plan to receive up to 60,000 tons of hazelnuts in 2017.”

At present, the biggest hazelnut producer in the world is Turkey with a 75 percent share of the global market. Azerbaijan’s share of the hazelnut market is 4 percent.

Hazelnut was the most exported agricultural product of Azerbaijan in 2016. The country has great potential for further growth in this field.

September 1

Buta Airways makes first commercial flight to Tbilisi

Azerbaijani journalists have become the first passengers at the new Embraer 190 airplane of Buta Airways, established under Azerbaijan Airlines CJSC (AZAL), which flew from the Heydar Aliyev International Airport to the Shota Rustaveli Tbilisi International Airport as part of the promotional tour.

“Four flights a week will be made till October 29, while the number of flights will be increased up to ten respectively in accordance with winter flight schedule,” Jamil Manizade, director of Buta Airways, said at a press conference.

Flights are made via Brazilian aircraft - Embraer. Aircraft are super modern and comfortable.

Manizade added that the activity of Buta Airways will make a significant contribution to the development of tourism in the country.

International Bank of Azerbaijan completes its restructuring process

OJSC International Bank of Azerbaijan (the “Bank” or “IBA”) is pleased to announce that the initial distribution of entitlements under its Restructuring Plan occurred earlier on Sept.1.

Accordingly, September 1, 2017 constitutes the restructuring date under the terms of the restructuring plan.

The restructuring plan was previously approved by an affirmative vote of holders of 93.9 percent of affected claims at the Claimant’s Meeting held on July 18, 2017, by the Financial Market Supervisory Authority of Azerbaijan on July 25, 2017 and by the Nasimi District Court in Baku at the hearing of the bank’s application that took place on August 17, 2017.

“The successful closing of the restructuring process earlier today is a key step in the bank’s plan to ensure its long-term viability. The bank is now in a position to work with the Ministry of Finance on completion of the remaining part of the transfer of certain impaired assets to Aqrarkredit. The combination of these two transactions will restore the bank’s capital position, provide the bank with the necessary financial strength to implement its business plan aimed at restoration of long-term profitability and also facilitate the government of Azerbaijan’s objective of privatizing the bank by the end of 2018,” said Khalid Ahadov, Chairman of IBA.

September 2

Ilham Aliyev attends opening of cereals & pulses cleaning-packing complex in Jalilabad

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has attended the opening of Avangard LLC’s cereals and pulses cleaning and packing complex in Jalilabad.

The plant features state-of-the-art equipment. The total area of the complex is five hectares, and it includes a grain storage, a mill, and a pulses and flour products packing plant.

The facility has a capacity of 5 tons per hour. The 10,000-ton grain storage and the mill, which has a processing capacity of 30 tons per hour, feature the Azerbaijani- and Turkish-made equipment. The pulses and flour products packing plant is supplied with the Turkish-made equipment.

The project will create nearly 80 jobs.

Ilham Aliyev attends opening of overhauled highway

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has attended the opening of the Jalilabad-Astanli-Jangan-Soltankand highway as part of his visit to Jalilabad district.

President Ilham Aliyev cut the ribbon symbolizing the opening of the Jalilabad-Astanli-Jangan-Soltankand highway.

Ilham Aliyev congratulates Captains Regent of San Marino

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has sent a congratulatory letter to Captains Regent of the Republic of San Marino Mimma Zavoli and Vanessa D’Ambrosio.

“On my own behalf and on behalf of the people of Azerbaijan, I extend my most sincere congratulations to you and all the people of the Republic of San Marino on your country’s national holiday – Republic Day,” Ilham Aliyev said in his letter.

“On this remarkable day, I extend my best wishes to you and wish the friendly people of San Marino lasting peace and prosperity.”

Ilham Aliyev views Jalilabad Telecom Network’s administrative & technological building

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has viewed conditions at the newly-reconstructed administrative and technological building of Jalilabad Telecommunications Network. Minister of Transport, Communications and High Technologies Ramin Guluzade informed the head of state of the work done here.

The four-story building, which occupies a total area of 1,700 square meters, underwent a complete overhaul. Extensive landscaping was done around the building, green areas were created, and lighting system was installed here.

Jalilabad Telecommunications Network features the Shabaka center, which will provide all postal and telecommunications services for citizens, including internet access, IMEI registration, e-government and e-signature services, currency exchange, and the sale of air tickets and tourism packages.

President Ilham Aliyev was informed of the e-government payment system in the Shabaka center, which gives citizens the opportunity to pay their utility bills and make other payments.

Ilham Aliyev opens Masalli-Jalilabad road after reconstruction

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has attended the opening of the 32.2-km Masalli-Jalilabad section of the Alat-Astara-Iran state border highway, which is undergoing a major overhaul.

Chairman of Azeravtoyol Open Joint Stock Company Saleh Mammadov informed the head of state of the work done under the project.

President Aliyev cut the ribbon symbolizing the opening of the road.

Ilham Aliyev opens Lankaran-Masalli section of Alat-Astara-Iran border highway

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has attended the opening of the 22.2-km Lankaran-Masalli section of the Alat-Astara-Iran state border highway, which is undergoing a major overhaul.

The head of state viewed stands reflecting the technical and economic indicators of the road.

Chairman of Azeravtoyol Open Joint Stock Company Saleh Mammadov informed the head of state of the work done under the project.

The Alat-Astara-Iran state border highway is being reconstructed in accordance with “The State Program for Development of Districts of the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2014-2018”, under an agreement signed between the government of Azerbaijan and the Asian Development Bank in 2008.

The four-lane Lankaran-Masalli section of the highway is 26.5 meters in width. Ten bridges were built on the road.

President Ilham Aliyev cut the ribbon symbolizing the opening of the road.

President Aliyev arrives in Jalilabad district for visit

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has arrived in Jalilabad district for a visit.

The head of state first laid flowers at a statue of the national leader in the Heydar Aliyev Park in the city of Jalilabad.

Head of Jalilabad District Executive Authority Aziz Azizov informed President Ilham Aliyev of the construction and landscaping work carried out in the park and in the district.

Ilham Aliyev attends launch of water supply, sewage systems in Jalilabad

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has attended the launch of water supply and sewage systems in the city of Jalilabad.

Chairman of Azerbaijan Melioration and Water Management Company Ahmad Ahmadzade informed the head of state of the project to reconstruct the city’s water supply system and build a sewage infrastructure.

The project is being implemented under the National Water Supply and Sanitation Project, funded by the World Bank. The project provides for the improvement of water supply and sewage infrastructure for 77,000 people in the city of Jalilabad.

President Ilham Aliyev met with local residents there. Local resident, Honored Teacher Garanfil Ahmadova thanked the head of state for his attention to the development of Jalilabad.

President Aliyev pressed a button to launch the water supply system.

President Ilham Aliyev opens Khazar Palace hotel in Lankaran

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has attended the opening of Khazar Palace hotel complex in Lankaran.

The head of state cut the ribbon symbolizing the opening of the hotel.

The complex is two hectares in area.

President Ilham Aliyev viewed rooms and gyms of the hotel.

President Ilham Aliyev views rice paddies and opens rice plant in Lankaran

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has viewed Janub Agro LLC`s rice paddies and inaugurated a rice plant as part of his visit to Lankaran.

The head of state was told that the complex occupies a total area of 225 hectares. The rice paddies occupy an area of 35 hectares, which will be expanded by 27.5 hectares in the future.

President Ilham Aliyev was informed of the latest technologies used to cultivate rice. Rice farming is being developed in the district`s Girdani, Veravul, Urga, Siyavar, Hirkan, Kholmili, Shikhakaran, Mamusta, Separadi and other villages.

The head of state then launched the rice plant, which is one hectare in area. Construction of the plant started last November and was completed this August.

President Ilham Aliyev viewed production process here. The plant has a monthly processing capacity of 300 tons and drying capacity of 900 tons. It created 15 permanent jobs. The capacity of the plant will be increased twice in the future, while the number of staff will reach 60.

President Ilham Aliyev views Astara Chay LLC`s tea plantation in Lankaran

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has visited Astara Chay LLC`s plantations in Lankaran.

The head of state was told that the total area of tea plantations in the country is 1,016 hectares, including 568 hectares in Lankaran, 345 hectares in Astara, 60 hectares in Zagatala and 43 hectares in Masalli districts.

Astara Chay LLC has 289 hectares of tea plantations.

President Ilham Aliyev spoke with the company`s workers and posed with them for photographs.

President Ilham Aliyev views “Yashil Chay” plantation in Lankaran

As part of his visit to Lankaran President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has viewed a tea plantation of local farmer Araz Yagubov`s “Yashil Chay” LLC.

The head of state was told that the tea leaves harvested from the plantation are processed and packed at the company`s production facility. The company produces high-quality “Lankaran tea”.

President Ilham Aliyev also viewed a mulberry plantation, which features 12,000 saplings brought from China.

The head of state spoke with workers here and posed with them for photographs.

President Ilham Aliyev arrives in Lankaran district for visit

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has arrived in Lankaran district for a visit.

The head of state laid flowers at a statue of national leader Heydar Aliyev in the center of the city of Lankaran.

Head of Lankaran District Executive Authority Taleh Garashov informed President Ilham Aliyev of the construction and landscaping work carried out in the district.

President Ilham Aliyev views Gunashli-Agro LLC`s Agropark in Jalilabad

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has viewed Gunashli-Agro LLC`s Agropark as part of his visit to Jalilabad.

President Ilham Aliyev was informed of the Agropark of Gunashli-Agro LLC as well as other agroparks that were and will be built in the districts in accordance with proposals of the Ministry of Economy.

The Agropark occupies a total area of 1,600 hectares. State-of-the-art pivot irrigation systems were installed in an area of 1,200 hectares.

The head of state toured the Agropark.

September 3

President Ilham Aliyev chairs republican conference on development of tea, rice and citrus fruits production in Lankaran

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has chaired a republican conference on the development of tea, rice and citrus fruits production in Lankaran.

The head of state made an opening speech at the event.

Speakers at the event included Head of Lankaran City Executive Authority Taleh Garashov, director of Astarachay Limited Liability Company Talat Mammadov, Head of Masalli District Executive Authority Rafil Huseynov, agronomist of Janub-Agro Limited Liability Company Farman Abdullayev, Head of Aghdash District Executive Authority Tofig Ibrahimov, director of Gilan Orchards Limited Liability Company Vagif Suleymanov and Head of Astara District Executive Authority Gazanfar Aghayev.

President Ilham Aliyev made a closing speech at the conference.

President Ilham Aliyev then viewed an exhibition organized as part of the conference.

Minister of Economy Shahin Mustafayev informed the head of state about the exhibition.

President Ilham Aliyev was also informed about the current state and prospects of development of tea-growing in Azerbaijan.

President Ilham Aliyev views Gilan Orchards LLC`s citrus gardens in Lankaran

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has viewed Gilan Orchards LLC`s citrus gardens in Lankaran.

The head of state was told that the gardens occupy a total area of 100 hectares. 45,000 hallabong trees brought from the Republic of Korea were planted in the plantations.

President Ilham Aliyev viewed fruits cultivated in the plantations and products made from these fruits. The head of state was told that preparations are already underway to expand the area of the plantations to 500 hectares.

The project created 200 jobs.

Azerbaijani President: Conditions created in our districts prevent migration to large cities

“As I have always mentioned, today I would like to note again that an Azerbaijani citizen is in the center of all our work and our policy. A citizen of Azerbaijan should live well and have an opportunity to live well. That's why social issues, especially education, health issues have always been a priority for us,” said President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev at a republican conference on the development of tea, rice and citrus fruits production in Lankaran.

The head of state noted that more than 3,000 schools and more than 600 medical centers were built in recent years.

“At the same time, the conditions created in our districts also prevent migration to large cities. Now people return from cities to villages. Because very good opportunities for the development of agriculture were created,” the Azerbaijani President added.

President Ilham Aliyev: We increased our currency reserves by $3.6bn in 7 months

“The government allocated low interest loans of more than two billion manats for entrepreneurs over the last years, of course, entrepreneurs also invested their funds. As a result of this initiative, nearly four billion manats or perhaps even more funds were allocated to the real sector of the country's economy,” said President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev as he addressed a republican conference on the development of tea, rice and citrus fruits production in Lankaran.

The Azerbaijani President noted that loans were mainly allocated to regions, agriculture and processing industry.

“Although the price of oil is still very low today, we have increased our currency reserves by $3.6bn in 7 months.”

Ilham Aliyev observes school in Baku after major overhaul

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has viewed conditions in the secondary school No 74 in Bakikhanov, Sabunchu district, Baku, after a major overhaul.

Head of Baku City Executive Authority Hajibala Abutalibov informed the head of state of the reconstruction work.

The building of the school was constructed in 1960. The school underwent a major overhaul under the “State Program for socio-economic development of Baku and its suburbs”, which was approved by the President of Azerbaijan.

The territory of the 912-seat school occupies a total area of 11,000 square meters.

There are photo stands in the foyer of the school highlighting national leader Heydar Aliyev’s, President Ilham Aliyev’s and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva’s attention to education.

Reconstruction of the school saw the installation of video surveillance, fire alarm and internet systems. All classrooms and laboratories feature furniture and necessary equipment. The school now also has a football pitch.

Extensive landscaping was done in the territory of the school.

President Ilham Aliyev toured the school, and wished its staff success.

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